There are many benefits to living in a senior community, and the fact that you have taken the first few steps in this process show that you have already considered many of them. But sometimes going from making an initial inquiry to making the actual move can seem overwhelming. Many of our current residents came from homes that they raised their families in and have lived in for many years. So the idea of moving out of a place with so many memories and starting over can be both exciting and daunting. Most experts agree that when making a major move the best course of action is to take small steps. This guide is designed to help you make your move more manageable by taking it a small piece at a time.
STEP 1 – Now that you have selected your new community
- Place a deposit to hold your ideal apartment. You found the perfect place to live. It has the space, the view, and is in a community that you can call home. Now don’t lose it. Talk to the community’s sales representative about placing a deposit to hold the unit you want.
- Don’t second guess yourself. Yes moving is a big decision, but don’t focus on what you are losing. Think about all the new memories, adventures and friends you will make at your new home.
- Get involved. Ask the sales representative for a list of things you can do to become involved with the community prior to your move in. Attend some of the activities / social events or join them for a meal or two. By getting involved you can meet some of the other residents and start making friends. This will make your eventual move in that much more enjoyable.
- Hold a family meeting and let your children and family members know of your intention to move. This is a happy event, and it is good to keep everyone in the loop. This is also a great time to ask your family come and collect their personal items.
- Buy a notebook specifically for your move. This notebook is a great place to make lists, remind yourself of questions that you need the answer to, and even record memories as you go through belongings.
STEP 2 - PREPARING TO MOVE
- Get the facts. Talk to the community and ask for a floor plan and measurements for your new apartment. Look at closet space and any additional storage space you will have. This will help you figure out how much of your current stuff you will be able to take with you.
- Make a list of the things in your house that you want to bring with you to your new apartment. Consider things like the space you will have, layout, and storage space of the new apartment. Make a list of those items that have sentimental value and will remind you of your previous home. The senior living community will be happy to provide you with a floor plan and visit the new apartment as many times as you like to get a feel for the space.
- Make a schedule. This will help hold you and your family members accountable. For example, schedule a time for loved ones to pick up family heirlooms, arrange for donation pick-up by a local charity, or set a time and promise yourself to only focus on sorting or packing until the timer dings
- Collect your important documents. Keep these with you and separate as you work through your move so they do not get misplaced. Important documents should include your will, power of attorneys, medical records, military records, diplomas, birth certificates, and passports.
- Hire a realtor. This should be done early in the process as a good relator is a wealth of information and can often help walk you through the process of downsizing, staging/selling your home and moving. Choosing a relator does not mean you have to list your house immediately.
- Schedule the movers. This is another thing you will want to do early in the process. Many movers back up and book many weeks in advance. By scheduling early you can reserve a day and time that works best for you.
- Arrange for a move in date that works for you. Give yourself time, but remember everything doesn’t have to be done prior to your move in date. Pick a day when help is available. Most people agree that a best practice is to move some of your stuff prior to actually moving into your new apartment. This makes the actual move in day much easier.
STEP 3- PACKING
- When packing start with the unsentimental stuff. Sometimes, even parting with an extra salad spoon can be difficult. But if you start with the laundry room and the garage, you might be surprised how ready you are to tackle the living room and bedroom!
- Don’t throw things away yet. You don’t need to throw away your old things just yet. If you aren’t sure about some items, rent a storage unit. If you decide later that you want them then they are easy to get. You may be surprised at how little you notice they’re gone — and how much you enjoy living with less stuff.
- Start small. Don’t try to pack and sort 50 years of memories in one day. Know that it’s going to take time and that’s okay. If going through belongings feels overwhelming, it’s okay to start small. Commit to 20 minutes a day and we bet that once you get going, it will be hard to stop.
- Plan an estate sale. After you have identified the things you want to keep and those that need to go to storage, hire someone to sell the rest. There are companies that specialize in this type of work. If you need a recommendation, ask your realtor.
STEP 4 – A week before move In Day
- Plan to cancel current utility services. If you are selling you old house, then work with the relator and plan to shut off utilities on the closing date. You don’t want to shut off the heat too soon and have a frozen pipe prior to the closing.
- Don’t forget about your prescriptions. Contact your current pharmacy and see if they have a branch near your new home. Doing this in advance means there is one less thing to worry about after the move and ensures your medication will be where you need it.
- Sign the lease paperwork. Ideally this can be done prior to the day you move in. This make the move in experience easier as you don’t have to worry about all the paperwork.
- Move some of your stuff in and arrange your new apartment. Set up the apartment in advance of your move-in day if at all possible. This creates a much smoother experience if all of the furniture has been delivered and placed, the bed is made, and the pictures are hung.
- Make move in day a family event. Invite your children, grandchildren and friends to join you on move in day and explore your new community.
STEP 5 – AFTER YOUR BIG MOVE
- Share your new address and phone number with family and friends and invite them to visit. The sooner you make your new place feel like home the faster your adjustment will be.
- Set up mail forwarding with the US Postal Service.
- If you’re moving to a new area, find a new primary care doctor.
- Change your address on your driver’s license
- Enjoy your new surroundings. There is lots to do. In those first few days, make sure to attend dinning service, participate in activities, walk around the grounds, and meet your new neighbors.